Saturday, March 09, 2013


Got a new computer on the desk. The old one, an iMac, was getting a bit long in the tooth; coming up five years old, an OS or two back and never updated.

AppleCare gives you three years. There's a reason Apple doesn't offer a four or five-year maintenance plan; after four or so years, hard drives head for senility or stroke. Our record is my wife's Mac two back, lasted for almost eight years, but the next one she got blew out at two. Still covered, fortunately.

I didn't get fancy, nor expensive. Got a replacement iMac, not many bells nor whistles. A bit faster, more memory and storage. Opted for the trackpad instead of the mouse. It's not as good at the iGesture, but it's not too far behind.

Half what I paid for my first computer, back in 1984, in those less-inflated dollars, and a million times bigger, faster, and stronger, at least.

Of course, transferring your files and programs from your old computer to your new one is a royal pain in the ass. They say it'll be a breeze, just hook 'em up and launch Migration Assistant, or Set-Up Assistant, port everything over, a snap.

Not really. First thing is, the old cables don't like the new machine. Firewire is kaput, the new kid is Thunderbolt, and I didn't get the hybrid wire, not realizing I needed one. So my nice back-up drive for Time Machine wouldn't connect to the new toy. Well, I could use ethernet, right?

Yep. Only once I launched it and let them run, it gave me a run time of eight hours ...

So, the next morning, I got to see what still worked. Most of it did, but there are always programs that die trying to make the crossing. One that was teetering on the old system doesn't have the juice to run on the new. Some programs that allow you to copy them a couple times decide that once is enough and won't open.

Mostly you can fix those. Upgrade the software, send an email to tech support and ask them for a workaround to copy a program.

The trick is to be sure to open everything you have to see if it will run. Otherwise, you might find out two months after you passed the old machine on to the kids for a game player or to watch YouTube, and too bad for you ...

Setting up the wireless Time Capsule is next, and I'll do that one at bedtime, because the first back-up will take at least another eight hours.

Always something.


Dojo Rat said...

...And some people say there are no problems with Mac's....

I Dunno. I think, except for my I-pod I may stick with PC.
Big-ass dwsktop with large cooling fan and room for more components.

Netbook for travel.
I-pod for downloading information shows while I am working.

Now, the question is when I update to a smart phone from my dumb phone, I may go to I-phone, but I am seriously considering Android or other such...

Kris said...

Apple really chaps my ass. Girlfriend got an iPod last year- returned it the next day. In order to sideload her music, which was already sitting on her computer, it needed to go through a proprietary Apple program. Said program needed an Apple store account to run (even though it would be running on just her local machine, directly connected to the iPod), which needed all of her personal info and credit card to set up. Just to access stuff that she already owned, and that any other mp3 made could already access. No thanks. The slight moral victory was getting the Apple tech guy to admit that they had a "thing" for collecting unnecessary personal information.

Steve Perry said...

Yep, Apple should have bought Winchester Ammo years ago, given all the times they have shot themselves in the foot. Played differently, there'd have been no Windoze.

Once, I had a Mac Clone, when Apple licensed out the hardware for a brief time. Very brief -- it cut into their market and they stopped in a hurry. Cheaper, faster, better.

But: I'm a Mac guy, going back to OS 5.x, my wife and I Iaid out a newspaper on a toaster, back when PageMaker was the only game in town.

Whatever other problems Apple has, they have it all over Windows as an OS. Using Word to write a novel is like using a battleship to sink a canoe.

Once upon a time, my sister-in-law allowed as how she might go to a Wintel box instead of a Mac for a new computer. My son asked her why.

Well, because they have so many more techs than Apple to work on them.

Uh huh. And what does that tell you? he asked.

Kris said...

I used to like how you could drop to DOS to get stuff done, on a root level (back when you could actually do that); and it was one of my major justifications for using PC's (besides the software availability). This particular appreciation arose way back in college, working at an astrophysics lab, upon seeing three of the most brilliant scientists that I had ever met, standing around a Mac, attempting (over and over) to drag a junk file into the trash can. Oh, sorry, that didn't work? Try dragging again. It was both sad and hilarious. I'm sure they (Apple) have addressed that issue by now, but that memory will always stick.

Steve Perry said...

When I got my first computer, I wanted a magic typewriter. It was a cpm system, did that, sorta, and I did not want to be a programmer, I wanted to write. Still do.

Windoze is the only OS approved for operation in Hell, did you know ...?

Kris said...

Well, you're correct in that. I am a slightly-more-than-intermediate PC user, and I am constantly wondering how the average PC owner gets by. I mostly wonder this after jumping through a bunch of odd, technical, and, often, archaic hoops to get something to work as it should.

Master Plan said...

Kris said: "I used to like how you could drop to DOS to get stuff done, on a root level (back when you could actually do that)"

You can still actually do that. ;)

Some of the newer versions of Windows server don't even have a GUI by default anymore. I doubt the command line is as robust as any flavor of *NIX you might care to name, but it's certainly quite possible to drop to the command line to get shit done.

Steve Perry said...

Uh huh. Just like I said, MP, that might as well be Lithuanian for all the sense it makes to me.

It's true, Macs are kiddie toys to the serious computer folks, but I've owned a dozen of 'em through the years, and I could almost always fix any software problem on my own, and save for HD failures, seldom had any hardware problems.

Got to be a programmer to fix something, I ain't going there ...

Master Plan said...

You can drop to the command line on Mac as well.

I know a few sys admin types that do all their work from MacBook Pros, since most of the UNIX stuff is scripting and shell access and what have you.

I don't encounter too much in the way of software problems on the PC side these days (ie, since Win7) but certainly that's not always been the case.

Programming...I suppose some of the scripting stuff is programmer-y, but mostly it's just system knowledge, no programming required. Particularly because most programs are provided (in the Windows world) as an executable file, and while you can certainly crack such things open and much around with them that's kinda discouraged legally and really not necessary at all for any type of serious fixin'.

The real fun on Windows, IME, and I think this applies to Macs as well, is to figure out all the keyboard short cuts, control panel applet names, and so on, so you can cause 'amazing' things to happen on the screen without having to touch the mouse. End-users tend to find that impressive at least. ;)

You can certainly go Start-Control Panel (if visible) - Network and Sharing Center - Change Adapter Settings, for instance. But Win+R - ncpa.cpl is much more efficient. AND it makes you look like you know something and everybody knows chicks dig dudes that know their way around obscure OS functionality. Right? ;D